· Pataka: The thumb is bent to touch the fingers and the fingers are extended. This is used at the beginning of the dance, often to denote clouds, a forest, forbidding things, the bosom, might, a river, the region of gods, the horse, wind, prowess, favour, moonlight, strong sunlight, a street, equality or addressing a person.
· Tripataka: The ring finger is bent in this hasta. This denotes a crown, a tree, the thunderbolt, a flower, a pigeon, an arrow or turning round.
· Ardhapataka: The little finger of the Tripataka hand is bent. This denotes leaves, knife, a banner, or a horn.
· Ardhachandra: The thumb of the Pataka hand is stretched out. This is used to show the half moon, a spear, waist, meditation, prayer, and greeting by common people.
· Shikhara: The fist is formed by four fingers while the thumb is raised up. This denotes a bow, a pillar, the phallic symbol, the act of embrace and the sounding of a bell.
· Alapadma: The fingers, beginning from the little one, are bent and separated from one another. This denotes a full blown lotus, the full moon, beauty, the hair know, a village, a lake or a murmuring sound.
· Bhramara: The thumb and the middle finger touch each other and the fore finger is curved while the remaining fingers are out stretched. This denotes a bee, a parrot, a wing, a cuckoo and other birds.
Both hands are combined in twenty-three ways. They are Anjali, Kapota, Karkata, Swastika, Dola, Puspaputa, Utsanga, Shivalinga, Katakavardhana, Kartariswastika, Shakata, Shankha, Chakra, Sampata, Pasha, Kilaka, Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Garuda, Nigabandha, Khatva and Bherunda.
Some important ones
· Anjali: Both hands join to form a cup. This denotes salutation, an offering, a Brahmin, and an act of veneration.
· Swastika: Two Pataka hands are put across each other at the wrist to form the swastika. This denotes a crocodile.
· Shankha: The thumb of a Sikhara hand meets the other thumb and clung round by the fore finger. This denotes a conch shell.
· Chakra: The palms in Ardhachandra hands are put across each other. This denotes a wheel.
· Pasha: The fore-fingers of the Shuchi hands are close to each other. This denotes a string, a chain or a mutual quarrel.
Each deity is also portrayed by the arrangement of hands in specific ways. Hasta mudras also describe planets, relationships, pure dance poses and the various incarnations of god. These hand poses are used as and when the portrayals of these characters are required.